Gerolt de Warenne spent his life watching Cassandry de Reymes grow into a lovely young woman. He dreamed of building a life together, but Cassandry chose to marry another. Twenty-four years later, with both of them now widowed, he hopes he might have more success in courting her. After all, they were once the best of friends. Perhaps this time, friendship can grow into something more?
But Cassandry rejects his proposal. Her first marriage turned out to be a bitter disappointment. She cannot bear the thought of spoiling her friendship with Gerolt by gambling again on anything as risky as love. Instead, she pushes for a betrothal between their teenage children, to which Gerolt reluctantly agrees.